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After spending nearly a decade fighting for her life against charges of blasphemy, Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi is finally free thanks to the country's Supreme Court overturning her conviction.

She was then told off by a Muslim neighbor, who turned to other Muslim women in the area to tell them the Christian devotee had dirtied the water by drinking from their cup.

Insulting the Prophet Muhammad is punishable by death under Pakistani law, and dozens have been killed following accusations, some by angry mobs.

Shortly after the ruling, hundreds of Islamists blocked a key road linking the city of Rawalpindi with the capital, Islamabad.

"I just don't know what to say, I am very happy, I can't believe it".

Bibi's husband hailed Wednesday's verdict, which was welcomed by human rights activists.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers in parliament called on Thursday for reforming the judicial system and Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law - so that innocents like Bibi wouldn't spent years languishing in jail.

Hard-line Pakistani Islamists blocked roads in major cities for a third day on November 2 in protest against the acquittal of a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations. Bibi's case was closely followed internationally amid concern for Pakistan's religious minorities, who have frequently come under attack by extremists in recent years.

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Speaking to the BBC, her lawyer Saiful Mulook said she would need to move to a Western country after the ruling for her own safety. Bibi's lawyer from her original trial admitted that he did not openly challenge all the questionable prosecution evidence because he feared he would also be accused of blasphemy.

Another Islamist group, the Milli Yakjehti Council, is also meeting on Thursday to discuss Bibi's case and may launch protests. Her death sentence was maintained by the Lahore High Court in 2014. If not for the Supreme Court ruling in her favor, she might have been the first woman executed for blasphemy in Pakistan.

"I don't see any derogatory remarks vis-a-vis the holy Koran as per the FIR", added Chief Justice Nisar, referring to the initial complaint filed in the case.

He condemned the Islamists after cleric Afzal Qadri urged supporters to kill the three judges who acquitted Ms Bibi, revolt against army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and overthrow Mr Khan's government.

Demonstrations are also being held in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan - and clashes with police have been reported. The Muslim women gathered, bitter arguments ensued and the women kept pressuring Bibi to convert to Islam. The farm workers who pressed charges denied they quarrelled with her, saying her outbursts against Islam were unprovoked. Groups supporting the blasphemy law immediately took to the streets to protest the decision, and have threatened judges of the supreme court, government officials, and military leadership with violent reprisals. Asia, 47, a Roman Catholic and a mother of four, has been offered asylum by France and Spain.

Noting that many Muslims are also victims of the blasphemy laws, Fr. Yousaf said that the verdict is beneficial for all the citizens of Pakistan, irrespective of whether they are Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh or of other faiths.

Prime Minister Imran Khan's new government should use this opportunity to amend and ultimately repeal a blasphemy law that has, too often, been used against Pakistan's most marginalized and most vulnerable.


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